Thursday, July 3, 2014

The Amish man who reads 200 books a year and runs an antique mall

My jaw dropped when I met Leander Yoder yesterday. More like scraping it off the floor. This middle-aged Amish man, Old Order Amish man, has a thing for Apple. Not an apple from a bushel, but the Apple phone. My daughter, Karamarie, started to agree with how awesome the company Apple is and Leander said he knows all about the marketing, reads marketing books all the time. (I kept staring at his cell phone) “Oh, I love Dale Carnegie’s book, How to Win Friends and Influence People. I read it 16 times last year. I love John Maxwell, too.”

 I seriously could not keep up mentally with this man as he went on and on about things I didn’t think Old Order Amish people had or did. “Leander, can we back up to the Apple phone?”

 “Oh, I have two.” He grabbed one out of his pocket. “He tapped the yellow gadget on his belt. “This is my walkie-talkie. Use it when off work. I can only use a cell phone during business hours.”

 I’d heard this from other Old Order Amish, but never had an Amish man so open and animated. He told us how his large “Antique Mall” was run. He rents out spaces to vendors. His family orders merchandise that you can actually see clearly. Why? He has electricity in the store run off of solar panels and a generator.

“I have a passion for running a business,” he said. “It’s my gift. I can’t get enough of it.” Actually, I travel and teach the English how to run businesses. (Now I’m fainting) How does he do this? I understand why he does, as the Amish are super entrepreneurs, but how does he get contacts? On the internet. You can put me on your blog. I advertise to the Englishers?” He whips out his business card.  It reads, Life Leadership. He wanted me to put his contact info up on my blog so people could contact him.

 “Wait, Leander,” I said, “you’re Amish and can’t fly in a plane, right? What is someone in California wants you to come teach a seminar?”

 “We can’t fly? Oh, I didn’t know that.”

 Okay, now I’m laughing hysterically, emotions all over the place. “Leander, are you Older Order Amish? I know enough Amish in Smicksburg, not too far away, and they can’t fly.”

 He paused. He did have the Amish pause, as they measure their words carefully. “Every church district is different, you know. And things are changing. I can ask permission to fly. I doubt I’ll be allowed, but they’re so no one size fits all.”  He kind of changed the subject by saying, “I usually do local, Greater Pittsburgh Area and Western PA. How about you come to my house for dinner sometime and I can explain it all. Answer all your questions.”

 “Yes, Leander, I’ll take you up on that because I have so many!”

 What impressed me so much about Leander and his whole family was the service, friendliness, (I could take pictures in the store and it was hard not to get an Amish face) and his love for books. He ran over to the store book section and gave me two. “You need to read these. Best books around.”

He said that in his family at night, you can hear a pin drop. They’re all reading. “When you come to my house, I’ll show you all my books. It’s ridiculous how many I have, but I love to read. We only go to the 8th grade you know, and after that, you learn anything you want on your own.”

“Yes!” I exclaimed. “As a former teacher, I agree wholeheartedly. It’s one of the reasons I homeschooled my kids.” (That’s for another blog)

Here are some pictures of Yoder Antique Mall located at 14342 Pennsylvania 36, Punxsutawney, PA 15767. (He’s on Google Plus for more info) If you’re taking a road trip this July 4th weekend, stop in. They have a restaurant that has the best ice-cream and their food portions are double the norm. My daughter and I plan drive the hour long haul to get groceries once a month. Their prices are at least half the cost of other stores.


A book Leander gave me to read.

Leander's walkie-talkie

Daughter Karamarie, at 7 months pregnant enjoying ice cream from the snack bar.

Handmade purses


Amish ring up customer at the check out line.

Spin and span clean. Notice the electric lighting!



Suzanne Woods Fisher's books in the store. Had to take this pic for my friend.

Big sign that you can't miss!

Old fashioned toys Amish children can play with since no electronic gadgets allowed

Of course, herbs, vitamin and minerals the Amish are so big on


Life with Lily books by friends Maryann Kinsinger and Suzanne Woods Fisher. Fine reading for Amish children.

The corner cabinet I gawked at! Cherry wood! Love the Amish rag rugs, too